emergency medical identification
cards, bracelets, or necklaces with a written message used by people with diabetes or other medical problems to alert others in case of a medical emergency such as a coma.
grown or made inside the body. Insulin made by a person’s own pancreas is endogenous insulin. Insulin that is made from beef or pork pancreas or derived from bacteria is exogenous because it comes from outside the body and must be injected.
grown or made outside the body; for instance, insulin made from pork or beef pancreas is exogenous insulin for people.
a basic unit of fats. When insulin levels are too low or there is not enough glucose (sugar) to use for energy, the body burns fatty acids for energy. The body then makes ketone bodies, waste products that cause the acid levels in the blood to become too high. This in turn may lead to ketoacidosis, a serious problem. See also: diabetic ketoacidosis.
a substance found in foods that comes from plants. Fiber helps in the digestive process and is thought to lower and help control blood glucose (sugar). The two types of fiber in food are soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber, found in beans, fruits, and oat products, dissolves in water and is thought to help lower blood fats and blood glucose. Insoluble fiber, found in whole-grain products and vegetables, passes directly through the digestive system, helping to rid the body of waste products.
See: exchange lists.
taking special steps to avoid foot problems such as sores, cuts, bunions, and calluses. Good care includes daily examination of the feet, toes, and toenails and choosing shoes and socks or stockings that fit well. People with diabetes have to take special care of their feet because nerve damage and reduced blood flow sometimes means they will have less feeling in their feet than normal. They may not notice cuts and other problems as soon as they should.
a basic unit of heredity. Genes are made of DNA, a substance that tells cells what to do and when do do it. The information in the genes is passed from the parent to child-for example, a gene might tell some cells to make the hair red or the eyes brown.
the length of a pregnancy.
the effect of different foods on blood glucose (sugar) levels over a period of time. Researchers have discovered that some kinds of foods may raise blood glucose levels more quickly than other foods containing the same amount of carbohydrates.
drugs that block the body’s ability to fight infection or foreign substances that enter the body. A person receiving a kidney or pancreas transplant is given these drugs to stop the body from rejecting the new organ or tissue. Cyclosporin is a commonly used immunosuppressive drug.
when a person’s body has an allergic or bad reaction to taking insulin made from pork or beef or from bacteria, or because the insulin is not exactly the same as human insulin or because it has impurities.
The allergy can be of two forms. Sometimes an area of skin becomes red and itchy around the place where the insulin is injected. This is called a local allergy.
In another form, a person’s whole body can have a bad reaction. This is called a systemic allergy. The person can have hives or red patches all over the body or may feel changes in the heart rate and in the rate of breathing. A doctor may treat this allergy by prescribing purified insulins or by desensitization.
something that opposes or fights the action of insulin. Insulin lowers the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood, whereas glucagon raises it; therefore, glucagon is an antagonist of insulin.
when insulin attaches itself to something else. This can occur in two ways. First, when a cell needs energy, insulin can bind with the outer part of the cell. The cell then can bring glucose (sugar) inside and use it for energy. With the help of insulin, the cell can do its work very well and very quickly. But sometimes the body acts against itself. In this second case, the insulin binds with the proteins that are supposed to protect the body from outside substances ( antibodies). If the insulin is an injected form of insulin and not made by the body, the body sees the insulin as an outside or “foreign” substance. When the injected insulin binds with the antibodies, it does not work as well as when it binds directly to the cell.
small dents that form on the skin when a person keeps injecting a needle in the same spot. They are harmless. See also: injection site rotation.
a form of treatment for insulin-dependent diabetes in which the main objective is to keep blood glucose (sugar) levels as close to the normal range as possible. The treatment consists of three or more insulin injections a day or use of an insulin pump; four or more blood glucose tests a day; adjustment of insulin, food intake, and activity levels based on blood glucose test results; dietary counseling; and management by a diabetes team. See also: team management.
the buildup of lactic acid in the body. The cells make lactic acid when they use glucose (sugar) for energy. If too much lactic acid stays in the body, the balance tips and the person begins to feel ill. The signs of lactic acidosis are deep and rapid breathing, vomiting, and abdominal pain. Lactic acidosis may be caused by diabetic ketoacidosis or liver or kidney disease.
the sickness rate; the number of people who are sick or have a disease compared with the number of people who are well.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
one of the 17 institutes that make up the National Institutes of Health, an agency of the Public Health Service.
the process by which the body draws nutrients from food and uses them to make or mend its cells.
inflammation (pain, tenderness) of the pancreas; it can make the pancreas stop working. It is caused by drinking too much alcohol, by disease in the gallbladder, or by a virus.
the time period when the effect of something is as strong as it can be such as when insulin in having the most effect on lowering the glucose (sugar) in the blood.
a type of fat that comes from vegetables.
a condition that some women with diabetes have during the late stages of pregnancy. Two signs of this condition are high blood pressure and swelling because the body cells are holding extra water.
a severe condition that disturbs the body. A person with diabetes can go into shock when the level of blood glucose (sugar) drops suddenly. See also: insulin shock.
a word used to describe conditions that affect the entire body. Diabetes is a systemic disease because it involves many parts of the body such as the pancreas, eyes, kidneys, heart, and nerves.
toxemia of pregnancy
a condition in pregnant women in which poisons such as the body’s own waste products build up and may cause harm to both the mother and baby. The first signs of toxemia are swelling near the eyes and ankles (edema), headache, high blood pressure, and weight gain that the mother might confuse with the normal weight gain of being pregnant. The mother may have both glucose (sugar) and acetone in her urine. The mother should tell the doctor about these signs at once.
an infection of the vagina usually caused by fungus. A woman with this condition may have itching or burning and may notice a discharge. Women who have diabetes may develop a vaginitis more often than women who do not have diabetes.
telling a person now what is likely to happen in the future because of having a disease.
a class of oral medicine for type 2 diabetes that helps insulin take glucose from the blood into the cells for energy by making cells more sensitive to insulin. (Generic names: pioglitazone and rosiglitazone.)
see intensive therapy.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Tolinase.)
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Orinase.)
the storage form of fat in the body. High triglyceride levels may occur when diabetes is out of control.
type 1 diabetes
a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by a total lack of insulin. Occurs when the body`s immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas and destroys them. The pancreas then produces little or no insulin. Type 1 diabetes develops most often in young people but can appear in adults.
For more on type 1 diabetes, click here.
type 2 diabetes
a condition characterized by high blood glucose levels caused by either a lack of insulin or the body`s inability to use insulin efficiently. Type 2 diabetes develops most often in middle-aged and older adults but can appear in young people.
For more on type 2 diabetes, click here.
see unit of insulin.
a deep open sore or break in the skin.
long-acting insulin. On average, ultralente insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 4 to 6 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 10 to 18 hours after injection but keeps working 24 to 28 hours after injection. Also called U insulin.
United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study
a study in England, conducted from 1977 to 1997 in people with type 2 diabetes. The study showed that if people lowered their blood glucose, they lowered their risk of eye disease and kidney damage. In addition, those with type 2 diabetes and hypertension who lowered their blood pressure also reduced their risk of stroke, eye damage, and death from long-term complications.
a waste product found in the blood that results from the normal breakdown of protein in the liver. Urea is normally removed from the blood by the kidneys and then excreted in the urine.
the illness associated with the buildup of urea in the blood because the kidneys are not working effectively. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, weakness, and mental confusion.
the liquid waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys, stored in the bladder, and expelled from the body by the act of urinating.
also called urinalysis; a test of a urine sample to diagnose diseases of the urinary system and other body systems. In people with diabetes, a doctor may check for: Glucose, a sign of diabetes or other diseases; Protein, a sign of kidney damage, or nephropathy; White blood cells, a sign of urinary tract infection; Ketones, a sign of diabetic ketoacidosis or other conditions. Urine may also be checked for signs of bleeding. Some tests use a single urine sample. For others, 24-hour collection may be needed. And sometimes a sample is “cultured” to see exactly what type of bacteria grows.
a doctor who treats people who have urinary tract problems. A urologist also cares for men who have problems with their genital organs, such as impotence.
relating to the body`s blood vessels.
a blood vessel that carries blood to the heart.
a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 1 hour after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours after injection. See glargine insulin.
very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
a form of cholesterol in the blood; high levels may be related to cardiovascular disease.
surgery to restore sight in which the surgeon removes the cloudy vitreous humor in the eye and replaces it with a salt solution.
the clear gel that lies behind the eye`s lens and in front of the retina.
to urinate; to empty the bladder.
steps taken to ensure that a wound such as a foot ulcer heals correctly. People with diabetes need to take special precautions so wounds do not become infected.
a carbohydrate-based sweetener found in plants and used as a substitute for sugar; provides calories. Found in some mints and chewing gum.
blood glucose level
the amount of glucose in a given amount of blood. It is noted in milligrams in a deciliter, or mg/dL.
premixed insulin that is a 75 percent intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin and a 25 percent short-acting (regular) insulin.
is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acid radicals. There are several kinds of naturally-occurring saturated fatty acids, which differ by the number of carbon atoms, ranging from 3 carbons (Propionic Acid) to 36 (Hexatriacontanoic acid). Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain and are thus fully saturated with hydrogen atoms.
is a fat or fatty acid in which there are one or more double bonds in the fatty acid chain.
transaturated (trans) fat
is the common name for a type of unsaturated fat with trans-isomer fatty acid(s). Trans fats may be monounsaturated or polyunsaturated but never saturated.
are fatty acids that have a single double bond in the fatty acid chain and all of the remainder of the carbon atoms in the chain are single-bonded.
a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all of the essential amino acids for the dietary needs of humans or other animals.
one having a ratio of essential amino acids different from that of the average body protein.
Heart disease is a broad term used to describe a range of diseases that affect your heart, and in some cases, your blood vessels. The various diseases that fall under the umbrella of heart disease include diseases of your blood vessels, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects).
substances that cause an immune response in the body. The body "sees" the antigens as harmful or foreign. To fight them, the body produces antibodies, which attack and try to eliminate the antigens.
no symptoms; no clear sign of disease present.
blood sampling devices
a small instrument for pricking the skin with a fine needle to obtain a sample of blood to test for glucose (sugar).
calcium channel blocker
a drug used to lower blood pressure.
carpal tunnel syndrome
a severe disorder affecting the hand that may occur in people with diabetes; caused by a pinched nerve.
a scientifically controlled study carried out in people, usually to test the effectiveness of a new treatment.
in a coma; not conscious.
the removal of infected, hurt, or dead tissue.
diastolic blood pressure
see blood pressure.
a commercially produced combination of two different types of insulin. See 50/50 insulin, 70/30 insulin and 75/25 insulin.
preprandial blood glucose
the blood glucose level taken before eating.
the substance made first in the pancreas and then broken into several pieces to become insulin.
a condition in which fragile new blood vessels grow along the retina and in the vitreous humor of the eye.
a man-made substitute for a missing body part such as an arm or a leg.
1. One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide protein include meat, poultry, fish, cheese, milk, dairy products, eggs, and dried beans. 2. Proteins are also used in the body for cell structure, hormones such as insulin, and other functions.
the presence of protein in the urine, indicating that the kidneys are not working properly.
see insulin pump.
a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 5 to 10 minutes after injection and has its strongest effect 30 minutes to 3 hours after injection, depending on the type used. See aspart insulin and lispro insulin.
a swing to a high level of glucose in the blood after a low level. See Somogyi effect.
see insulin receptors.
Recognized Diabetes Education Programs
diabetes self-management education programs that are approved by the American Diabetes Association.
short-acting insulin. On average, regular insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 30 minutes after injection. It has its strongest effect 2 to 5 hours after injection but keeps working 5 to 8 hours after injection. Also called R insulin.
renal threshold of glucose
the blood glucose concentration at which the kidneys start to excrete glucose into the urine.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called meglitinides. (Brand name: Prandin.)
the light-sensitive layer of tissue that lines the back of the eye.
see background retinopathy, proliferative retinopathy, and diabetic retinopathy.
anything that raises the chances of a person developing a disease.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It helps insulin take glucose from the blood into the cells for energy by making cells more sensitive to insulin. Belongs to the class of medicines called thiazolidinediones. (Brand name: Avandia.)
a sweetener with no calories and no nutritional value.
a type of diabetes caused by another disease or certain drugs or chemicals.
in diabetes, the ongoing process of managing diabetes. Includes meal planning, planned physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, taking diabetes medicines, handling episodes of illness and of low and high blood glucose, managing diabetes when traveling, and more. The person with diabetes designs his or her own self-management treatment plan in consultation with a variety of health care professionals such as doctors, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and others.
premixed insulin that is 75 percent intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin and 25 percent short-acting (regular) insulin.
a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 30 minutes after injection and has its strongest effect 2 to 5 hours after injection. See regular insulin.
the unintended action(s) of a drug.
a set of instructions for adjusting insulin on the basis of blood glucose test results, meals, or activity levels.
Somogyi effect, also called rebound hyperglycemia:
when the blood glucose level swings high following hypoglycemia. The Somogyi effect may follow an untreated hypoglycemic episode during the night and is caused by the release of stress hormones.
1. A sugar alcohol (sweetener) with 2.6 calories per gram. 2. A substance produced by the body in people with diabetes that can cause damage to the eyes and nerves.
split mixed dose
division of a prescribed daily dose of insulin into two or more injections given over the course of the day.
another name for carbohydrate, one of the three main nutrients in food.
condition caused by damage to blood vessels in the brain; may cause loss of ability to speak or to move parts of the body.
putting a fluid into the tissue under the skin with a needle and syringe.
a two-part sugar made of glucose and fructose. Known as table sugar or white sugar, it is found naturally in sugar cane and in beets.
sweeteners that produce a smaller rise in blood glucose than other carbohydrates. Their calorie content is about 2 calories per gram. Includes erythritol, hydrogenated starch hydrolysates, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol. Also known as polyols (PAH-lee-alls.)
former term for diabetes mellitus.
a class of oral medicine for type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. (Generic names: acetohexamide, chlorpropamide, glimepiride, glipizide, glyburide, tolazamide, tolbutamide.)
see insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.
a device used to inject medications or other liquids into body tissues. The syringe for insulin has a hollow plastic tube with a plunger inside and a needle on the end.
a diabetes treatment approach in which medical care is provided by a team of health care professionals including a doctor, a dietitian, a nurse, a diabetes educator, and others. The team act as advisers to the person with diabetes.
disease of the kidneys. Hyperglycemia and hypertension can damage the kidneys` glomeruli. When the kidneys are damaged, protein leaks out of the kidneys into the urine. Damaged kidneys can no longer remove waste and extra fluids from the bloodstream.
nerve conduction studies
tests used to measure for nerve damage; one way to diagnose neuropathy.
a doctor who specializes in problems of the nervous system, such as neuropathy.
disease of the nervous system. The three major forms in people with diabetes are peripheral neuropathy, autonomic neuropathy, and mononeuropathy. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which affects mainly the legs and feet.
noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
former term for type 2 diabetes.
noninvasive blood glucose monitoring
measuring blood glucose without pricking the finger to obtain a blood sample.
an intermediate-acting insulin; NPH stands for neutral protamine Hagedorn. On average, NPH insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 6 to 10 hours after injection but keeps working about 10 hours after injection. Also called N insulin.
a condition in which a greater than normal amount of fat is in the body; more severe than overweight; having a body mass index of 30 or more.
a person with training in nutrition; may or may not have specialized training and qualifications. See dietitian.
a doctor who treats pregnant women and delivers babies.
a medical doctor who diagnoses and treats all eye diseases and eye disorders. Opthalmologists can also prescribe glasses and contact lenses.
a health care professional who dispenses glasses and lenses. An optician also makes and fits contact lenses.
a primary eye care provider who prescribes glasses and contact lenses. Optometrists can diagnose and treat certain eye conditions and diseases.
oral glucose tolerance test
a test to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. The oral glucose tolerance test is given by a health care professional after an overnight fast. A blood sample is taken, then the patient drinks a high-glucose beverage. Blood samples are taken at intervals for 2 to 3 hours. Test results are compared with a standard and show how the body uses glucose over time.
oral hypoglycemic agents
medicines taken by mouth by people with type 2 diabetes to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Classes of oral hypoglycemic agents are alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, biguanides, D-phenylalanine derivatives, meglitinides, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones.
an above-normal body weight; having a body mass index of 25 to 29.9.
a surgical procedure to take a healthy whole or partial pancreas from a donor and place it into a person with diabetes.
a doctor who treats children who have endocrine gland problems such as diabetes
a health care professional who specializes in fitting shoes for people with disabilities or deformities. A pedorthist can custom-make shoes or orthotics (special inserts for shoes).
disease of the gums.
a dentist who specializes in treating people who have gum diseases.
nerve damage that affects the feet, legs, or hands. Peripheral neuropathy causes pain, numbness, or a tingling feeling.
peripheral vascular disease
(puh-RIF-uh-rul VAS-kyoo-ler) (PVD):
a disease of the large blood vessels of the arms, legs, and feet. PVD may occur when major blood vessels in these areas are blocked and do not receive enough blood. The signs of PVD are aching pains and slow-healing foot sores.
a health care professional who prepares and distributes medicine to people. Pharmacists also give information on medicines.
a treatment for diabetic retinopathy. A strong beam of light (laser) is used to seal off bleeding blood vessels in the eye and to burn away extra blood vessels that should not have grown there.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It helps insulin take glucose from the blood into the cells for energy by making cells more sensitive to insulin. Belongs to the class of medicines called thiazolidinediones. (Brand name: Actos.)
the care and treatment of feet.
a meal planning system that uses points to rate the caloric content of foods.
excessive thirst; may be a sign of diabetes.
excessive hunger; may be a sign of diabetes.
excessive urination; may be a sign of diabetes.
postprandial blood glucose
the blood glucose level taken 1 to 2 hours after eating.
a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. People with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes and for heart disease and stroke. Other names for prediabetes are impaired glucose tolerance and impaired fasting glucose.
a chronic condition in which the body retains fluid and harmful wastes build up because the kidneys no longer work properly. A person with kidney failure needs dialysis or a kidney transplant. Also called end-stage renal (REE-nul) disease or ESRD.
the two bean-shaped organs that filter wastes from the blood and form urine. The kidneys are located near the middle of the back. They send urine to the bladder.
the rapid, deep, and labored breathing of people who have diabetic ketoacidosis.
a spring-loaded device used to prick the skin with a small needle to obtain a drop of blood for blood glucose monitoring.
laser surgery treatment
a type of therapy that uses a strong beam of light to treat a damaged area. The beam of light is called a laser. A laser is sometimes used to seal blood vessels in the eye of a person with diabetes. See photocoagulation.
latent autoimmune diabetes in adults
a condition in which type 1 diabetes develops in adults.
LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoproteincholesterol)
a fat found in the blood that takes cholesterol around the body to where it is needed for cell repair and also deposits it on the inside of artery walls. Sometimes called “bad” cholesterol.
an intermediate-acting insulin. On average, lente insulin starts to lower blood glucose levels within 1 to 2 hours after injection. It has its strongest effect 8 to 12 hours after injection but keeps working for 18 to 24 hours after injection. Also called L insulin.
limited joint mobility
a condition in which the joints swell and the skin of the hand becomes thick, tight, and waxy, making the joints less able to move. It may affect the fingers and arms as well as other joints in the body.
a term for fat in the body. Lipids can be broken down by the body and used for energy.
a blood test that measures total cholesterol, triglycerides, and HDL cholesterol. LDL cholesterol is then calculated from the results. A lipid profile is one measure of a person`s risk of cardiovascular disease.
defect in the breaking down or building up of fat below the surface of the skin, resulting in lumps or small dents in the skin surface. (See lipohypertrophy or lipoatrophy.) Lipodystrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
defect in the breaking down or building up of fat below the surface of the skin, resulting in lumps or small dents in the skin surface. (See lipohypertrophy or lipoatrophy.) Lipodystrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
buildup of fat below the surface of the skin, causing lumps. Lipohypertrophy may be caused by repeated injections of insulin in the same spot.
a rapid-acting insulin. On average, lispro (Humalog) insulin starts to lower blood glucose within 5 minutes after injection. It has its strongest effect 30 minutes to 1 hour after injection but keeps working for 3 hours after injection.
an organ in the body that changes food into energy, removes alcohol and poisons from the blood, and makes bile, a substance that breaks down fats and helps rid the body of wastes.
a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 4 to 6 hours after injection and has its strongest effect 10 to 18 hours after injection. See ultralente insulin.
low blood sugar
low-density lipoprotein cholesterol
see LDL cholesterol.
abnormally large; in diabetes, refers to abnormally large babies that may be born to women with diabetes.
the part of the retina in the eye used for reading and seeing fine detail.
swelling of the macula.
maturity-onset diabetes of the young
a kind of type 2 diabetes that accounts for 1 to 5 percent of people with diabetes. Of the six forms identified, each is caused by a defect in a single gene.
a class of oral medicine for type 2 diabetes that lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. (Generic name: repaglinide.)
the tendency of several conditions to occur together, including obesity, insulin resistance, diabetes or pre-diabetes, hypertension, and high lipids.
the term for the way cells chemically change food so that it can be used to store or use energy and make the proteins, fats, and sugars needed by the body.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by reducing the amount of glucose produced by the liver and helping the body respond better to the insulin made in the pancreas. Belongs to the class of medicines called biguanides. (Brand names: Glucophage, Glucophage XR; an ingredient in Glucovance.)
milligrams (MILL-ih-grams) per deciliter (DESS-ih-lee-tur), a unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mg/dL. Medical journals and other countries use millimoles per liter (mmol/L). To convert to mg/dL from mmol/L, multiply mmol/L by 18. Example: 10 mmol/L × 18 = 180 mg/dL.
small amounts of the protein called albumin in the urine detectable with a special lab test.
a small swelling that forms on the side of tiny blood vessels. These small swellings may break and allow blood to leak into nearby tissue. People with diabetes may get microaneurysms in the retina of the eye.
disease of the smallest blood vessels, such as those found in the eyes, nerves, and kidneys. The walls of the vessels become abnormally thick but weak. Then they bleed, leak protein, and slow the flow of blood to the cells.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It blocks the enzymes that digest starches in food. The result is a slower and lower rise in blood glucose throughout the day, especially right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. (Brand name: Glyset.)
a combination of two types of insulin in one injection. Usually a rapid– or short-acting insulin is combined with a longer acting insulin (such as NPH insulin) to provide both short-term and long-term control of blood glucose levels.
millimoles per liter, a unit of measure that shows the concentration of a substance in a specific amount of fluid. In most of the world, except for the United States, blood glucose test results are reported as mmol/L. In the United States, milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) is used. To convert to mmol/L from mg/dL, divide mg/dL by 18. Example: 180 mg/dL ÷ 18 = 10 mmol/L.
see maturity-onset diabetes of the young.
a short piece of nylon, like a hairbrush bristle, mounted on a wand. To check sensitivity of the nerves in the foot, the doctor touches the filament to the bottom of the foot.
neuropathy affecting a single nerve.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called D-phenylalanine derivatives. (Brand name: Starlix.)
necrobiosis lipoidica diabeticorum
(NEK-roh-by-OH-sis lih-POY-dik-ah DY-uh-bet-ih-KOR-um):
a skin condition usually on the lower part of the legs. Lesions can be small or extend over a large area. They are usually
raised, yellow, and waxy in appearance and often have a purple border.
the growth of new, small blood vessels. In the retina, this may lead to loss of vision or blindness.
low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure. Hypotension may occur when a person rises quickly from a sitting or reclining position, causing dizziness or fainting.
(insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus):
former term for type 1 diabetes.
a drug that suppresses the natural immune responses. Immunosuppressants are given to transplant patients to prevent organ rejection or to patients with autoimmune diseases.
impaired fasting glucose
a condition in which a blood glucose test, taken after an 8- to 12-hour fast, shows a level of glucose higher than normal but not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IFG, also called pre-diabetes, is a level of 100 mg/dL to 125 mg/dL. Most people with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
impaired glucose tolerance
a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but are not high enough for a diagnosis of diabetes. IGT, also called pre-diabetes, is a level of 140 mg/dL to 199 mg/dL 2 hours after the start of an oral glucose tolerance test. Most people with pre-diabetes are at increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Other names for IGT that are no longer used are “borderline,” “subclinical” or “chemical” diabetes.
implantable insulin pump
the inability to get or maintain an erection for sexual activity. Also called erectile (ee-REK-tile) dysfunction (dis-FUNK-shun).
a measure of how often a disease occurs; the number of new cases of a disease among a certain group of people for a certain period of time.
loss of bladder or bowel control; the accidental loss of urine or feces.
an experimental treatment for taking insulin using a portable device that allows a person to breathe in insulin.
injection site rotation
changing the places on the body where insulin is injected. Rotation prevents the formation of lipodystrophies.
places on the body where insulin is usually injected.
a hormone that helps the body use glucose for energy. The beta cells of the pancreas make insulin. When the body cannot make enough insulin, insulin is taken by injection or through use of an insulin pump.
a change in the amount of insulin a person with diabetes takes based on factors such as meal planning, activity, and blood glucose levels.
insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus
former term for type 1 diabetes.
a tumor of the beta cells in the pancreas. An insulinoma may cause the body to make extra insulin, leading to hypoglycemia
a device for injecting insulin that looks like a fountain pen and holds replaceable cartridges of insulin. Also available in disposable form.
an insulin-delivering device about the size of a deck of cards that can be worn on a belt or kept in a pocket. An insulin pump connects to narrow, flexible plastic tubing that ends with a needle inserted just under the skin. Users set the pump to give a steady trickle or basal amount of insulin continuously throughout the day. Pumps release bolus doses of insulin (several units at a time) at meals and at times when blood glucose is too high, based on programming done by the user.
when the level of glucose in the blood is too low (at or below 70 mg/dL). Also known as hypoglycemia.
areas on the outer part of a cell that allow the cell to bind with insulin in the blood. When the cell and insulin bind, the cell can take glucose from the blood and use it for energy.
the body`s inability to respond to and use the insulin it produces. Insulin resistance may be linked to obesity, hypertension, and high levels of fat in the blood.
a treatment for diabetes in which blood glucose is kept as close to normal as possible through frequent injections or use of an insulin pump; meal planning; adjustment of medicines; and exercise based on blood glucose test results and frequent contact with a person`s health care team. Also called physiologic insulin therapy.
a type of insulin that starts to lower blood glucose within 1 to 2 hours after injection and has its strongest effect 6 to 12 hours after injection, depending on the type used. See lente insulin and NPH insulin.
pain that comes and goes in the muscles of the leg. This pain results from a lack of blood supply to the legs and usually happens when walking or exercising.
inserting liquid medication into a muscle with a syringe. Glucagon may be given by subcutaneous or intramuscular injection for hypoglycemia.
islet cell autoantibodies
(EYE-let aw-toe-AN-ti-bod-eez) (ICA):
proteins found in the blood of people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. They are also found in people who may be developing type 1 diabetes. The presence of ICA indicates that the body`s immune system has been damaging beta cells in the pancreas.
moving the islets from a donor pancreas into a person whose pancreas has stopped producing insulin. Beta cells in the islets make the insulin that the body needs for using blood glucose.
groups of cells located in the pancreas that make hormones that help the body break down and use food. For example, alpha cells make glucagon and beta cells make insulin. Also called islets of Langerhans (LANG-er-hahns).
islets of Langerhans
a device that uses high pressure instead of a needle to propel insulin through the skin and into the body.
former term for insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM), or type 1 diabetes.
see diabetic ketoacidosis.
a chemical produced when there is a shortage of insulin in the blood and the body breaks down body fat for energy. High levels of ketones can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis and coma. Sometimes referred to as ketone bodies.
a ketone buildup in the body that may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis. Signs of ketosis are nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain.
hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome
(HY-per-oz-MOH-lur HY-per-gly-SEE-mik non-kee-TAH-tik) (HHNS):
an emergency condition in which one`s blood glucose level is very high and ketones are not present in the blood or urine. If HHNS is not treated, it can lead to coma or death.
a condition present when blood flows through the blood vessels with a force greater than normal. Also called high blood pressure. Hypertension can strain the heart, damage blood vessels, and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and death.
a condition that occurs when one`s blood glucose is lower than normal, usually less than 70 mg/dL. Signs include hunger, nervousness, shakiness, perspiration, dizziness or light-headedness, sleepiness, and confusion. If left untreated, hypoglycemia may lead to unconsciousness. Hypoglycemia is treated by consuming a carbohydrate-rich food such as a glucose tablet or juice. It may also be treated with an injection of glucagon if the person is unconscious or unable to swallow. Also called an insulin reaction.
a state in which a person does not feel or recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia. People who have frequent episodes of hypoglycemia may no longer experience the warning signs of it.
very-long-acting insulin. On average, glargine insulin starts to lower blood glucose levels within 1 hour after injection and keeps working evenly for 24 hours after injection.
an increase in fluid pressure inside the eye that may lead to loss of vision.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Amaryl).
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand names: Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL.)
glomerular filtration rate
measure of the kidney`s ability to filter and remove waste products.
plural of glomerulus.
a tiny set of looping blood vessels in the kidney where the blood is filtered and waste products are removed.
a hormone produced by the alpha cells in the pancreas. It raises blood glucose. An injectable form of glucagon, available by prescription, may be used to treat severe hypoglycemia.
Glucophage, Glucophage XR
glucose, or commonly referred to as blood sugar, is the form of energy circulating in the blood stream. Blood glucose is the end result of digestion, absorption and metabolism of food.
chewable tablets made of pure glucose used for treating hypoglycemia.
glucose tolerance test
Glucotrol, Glucotrol XL
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand names: DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase; ingredient in Glucovance.)
a unit of weight in the metric system. An ounce equals 28 grams. In some meal plans for people with diabetes, the suggested amounts of food are given in grams.
HDL cholesterol , stands for high-density-lipoprotein cholesterol
hemoglobin A1C test
the passing of a trait from parent to child.
high blood glucose
high blood pressure
high-density lipoprotein cholesterol
see HDL cholesterol.
home glucose monitor
see blood glucose meter.
temporary remission of hyperglycemia that occurs in some people newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, when some insulin secretion resumes for a short time, usually a few months, before stopping again.
a chemical produced in one part of the body and released into the blood to trigger or regulate particular functions of the body. For example, insulin is a hormone made in the pancreas that tells other cells when to use glucose for energy. Synthetic hormones, made for use as medicines, can be the same or different from those made in the body.
human leukocyte antigens
proteins located on the surface of the cell that help the immune system identify the cell either as one belonging to the body or as one from outside the body. Some patterns of these proteins may mean increased risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
excessive blood glucose. Fasting hyperglycemia is blood glucose above a desirable level after a person has fasted for at least 8 hours. Postprandial hyperglycemia is blood glucose above a desirable level 1 to 2 hours after a person has eaten.
a condition in which the level of insulin in the blood is higher than normal. Caused by overproduction of insulin by the body. Related to insulin resistance.
higher than normal fat and cholesterol levels in the blood.
Diabetes Prevention Program
a study by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases conducted from 1998 to 2001 in people at high risk for type 2 diabetes. All study participants had impaired glucose tolerance, also called pre-diabetes, and were overweight. The study showed that people who lost 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through a low-fat, low-calorie diet and moderate exercise (usually walking for 30 minutes 5 days a week) reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 58 percent. Participants who received treatment with the oral diabetes drug metformin reduced their risk of getting type 2 diabetes by 31 percent.
diabetic eye disease
see diabetic retinopathy.
the process of cleaning wastes from the blood artificially. This job is normally done by the kidneys. If the kidneys fail, the blood must be cleaned artificially with special equipment. The two major forms of dialysis are hemodialysis and peritoneal dialysis.
- hemodialysis (HE-mo-dy-AL-ih-sis):the use of a machine to clean wastes from the blood after the kidneys have failed. The blood travels through tubes to a dialyzer (DY-uh-LY-zur), a machine that removes wastes and extra fluid. The cleaned blood then goes back into the body.
- peritoneal (PEH-rih-tuh-NEE-ul) dialysis: cleaning the blood by using the lining of the abdomen as a filter. A cleansing solution called dialysate (dy-AL-ih-sate) is infused from a bag into the abdomen. Fluids and wastes flow through the lining of the belly and remain “trapped” in the dialysate. The dialysate is then drained from the belly, removing the extra fluids and wastes from the body.
(DY-lay-ted) eye exam:
swelling caused by excess fluid in the body.
a test used to detect nerve function. It measures the electrical activity generated by muscles.
a doctor who treats people who have endocrine gland problems such as diabetes.
end-stage renal disease
see kidney failure.
protein made by the body that brings about a chemical reaction, for example, the enzymes produced by the gut to aid digestion.
a normal level of glucose in the blood.
one of several approaches for diabetes meal planning. Foods are categorized into three groups based on their nutritional content. Lists provide the serving sizes for carbohydrates, meat and meat alternatives, and fats. These lists allow for substitution for different groups to keep the nutritional content fixed.
fasting blood glucose test
a check of a person`s blood glucose level after the person has not eaten for 8 to 12 hours (usually overnight). This test is used to diagnose pre-diabetes and diabetes. It is also used to monitor people with diabetes.
1. One of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide fat are butter, margarine, salad dressing, oil, nuts, meat, poultry, fish, and some dairy products. 2. Excess calories are stored as body fat, providing the body with a reserve supply of energy and other functions.
premixed insulin that is 50 percent intermediate-acting (NPH) insulin and 50 percent short-acting (regular) insulin.
a test to examine blood vessels in the eye; done by injecting dye into an arm vein and then taking photos as the dye goes through the eye`s blood vessels.
a sugar that occurs naturally in fruits and honey. Fructose has 4 calories per gram.
the death of body tissue, most often caused by a lack of blood flow and infection. It can lead to amputation.
a form of neuropathy that affects the stomach. Digestion of food may be incomplete or delayed, resulting in nausea, vomiting, or bloating, making blood glucose control difficult.
gestational diabetes mellitus
(jes-TAY-shun-ul MELL-ih-tus) (GDM):
a type of diabetes mellitus that develops only during pregnancy and usually disappears upon delivery, but increases the risk that the mother will develop diabetes later. GDM is managed with meal planning, activity, and, in some cases, insulin.
Reported rates of gestational diabetes range from 2 to 10 percent of pregnancies. Five-10 percent of women with gestational diabetes are found to have type 2 diabetes immediately after birth. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35 -60 percent chance of developing diabetes in the next 10-20 years. .
New diagnostic criteria for gestational diabetes will increase the proportion of women diagnosed with gestational diabetes. It is estimated that 18 percent of all pregnancies are affected by gestational diabetes.
a condition of the gums characterized by inflammation and bleeding.
a group of cells that secrete substances. Endocrine glands secrete hormones. Exocrine glands secrete salt, enzymes, and water.
the force of blood exerted on the inside walls of blood vessels. Blood pressure is expressed as a ratio (example: 120/80, read as “120 over 80”). The first number is the systolic (sis-TAH-lik) pressure, or the pressure when the heart pushes blood out into the arteries. The second number is the diastolic (DY-uh-STAH-lik) pressure, or the pressure when the heart rests.
see blood glucose
blood sugar level
see blood glucose level.
blood urea nitrogen
(yoo-REE-uh NY-truh-jen) (BUN):
see body mass index.
body mass index (BMI)
a measure used to evaluate body weight relative to a person`s height. BMI is used to find out if a person is underweight, normal weight, overweight, or obese.
an extra amount of insulin taken to cover an expected rise in blood glucose, often related to a meal or snack.
a former term for pre-diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance.
a term used when a person`s blood glucose level moves often from low to high and from high to low.
a bulge on the first joint of the big toe, caused by the swelling of a fluid sac under the skin. This spot can become red, sore, and infected.
a small area of skin, usually on the foot, that has become thick and hard from rubbing or pressure.
a unit representing the energy provided by food. Carbohydrate, protein, fat, and alcohol provide calories in the diet. Carbohydrate and protein have 4 calories per gram, fat has 9 calories per gram, and alcohol has 7 calories per gram.
the smallest of the body`s blood vessels. Oxygen and glucose pass through capillary walls and enter the cells. Waste products such as carbon dioxide pass back from the cells into the blood through capillaries
an ingredient in hot peppers that can be found in ointment form for use on the skin to relieve pain from diabetic neuropathy.
one of the three main nutrients in food. Foods that provide carbohydrate are starches, vegetables, fruits, dairy products, and sugars.
a method of meal planning for people with diabetes based on counting the number of grams of carbohydrate in food.
a doctor who treats people who have heart problems.
clouding of the lens of the eye.
see certified diabetes educator
certified diabetes educator (CDE)
Find a certified diabetes educator here.
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose levels by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Diabinese.)
a type of fat produced by the liver and found in the blood; it is also found in some foods. Cholesterol is used by the body to make hormones and build cell walls.
describes something that is long-lasting. Opposite of acute.
combination oral medicines
a pill that includes two or more different medicines. See Glucovance.
congestive heart failure
coronary artery disease
coronary heart disease
(DECKS-trohss), also called glucose:
Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT):
a health care professional who teaches people who have diabetes how to manage their diabetes. Some diabetes educators are certified diabetes educators (CDEs). Diabetes educators are found in hospitals, physician offices, managed care organizations, home health care, and other settings.
Find a diabetes educator here.
ACE inhibitors are medications that treat hypertension (High blood pressure) by relaxing the blood vessels. Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors prevent an enzyme in your body from producing Angiotensin II, a substance that narrows your blood vessels and releases hormones that can raise your blood pressure.
Disease of the large blood vessels, such as those found in the heart. Lipids and blood clots build up in the large blood vessels and can cause atherosclerosis, coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease.
a skin condition characterized by darkened skin patches; common in people whose body is not responding correctly to the insulin that they make in their pancreas (insulin resistance). Patches may appear on the neck, under the breast, in the groin area, in an armpit or top of the knuckles. This skin condition is also seen in people who have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes.
acesulfame (a-see-SUL-fame) potassium (puh-TAS-ee-um):
a dietary sweetener with no calories and no nutritional value. Also known as acesulfame-K. (Brand name: Sunett.)
a test that measures a person’s average blood glucose level over the past 2 to 3 months. Hemoglobin (HEE-mo-glo-bin) is the part of a red blood cell that carries oxygen to the cells and sometimes joins with the glucose in the bloodstream. Also called hemoglobin A1C or glycosylated (gly-KOH-sih-lay-ted) hemoglobin, the test shows the amount of glucose that sticks to the red blood cell, which is proportional to the amount of glucose in the blood.
A1C to eAG Conversion
Quick Reference Chart
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It blocks the enzymes that digest starches in food. The result is a slower and lower rise in blood glucose throughout the day, especially right after meals. Belongs to the class of medicines called alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. (Brand name: Precose.)
a dietary sweetener with no calories and no nutritional value. Also known as acesulfame-K. (Brand name: Sunett.)
an oral medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes. It lowers blood glucose by helping the pancreas make more insulin and by helping the body better use the insulin it makes. Belongs to the class of medicines called sulfonylureas. (Brand name: Dymelor.)
describes something that happens suddenly and for a short time. Opposite of chronic.
a condition of the shoulder associated with diabetes that results in pain and loss of the ability to move the shoulder in all directions.
former term for type 2 diabetes.
stands for advanced glycosylation (gly-KOH-sih-LAY-shun) endproducts. AGEs are produced in the body when glucose links with protein. They play a role in damaging blood vessels, which can lead to diabetes complications.
a condition in which the urine has more than normal amounts of a protein called albumin. Albuminuria may be a sign of nephropathy (kidney disease).
a type of cell in the pancreas. Alpha cells make and release a hormone called glucagon. The body sends a signal to the alpha cells to make glucagon when blood glucose falls too low. Then glucagon reaches the liver where it tells it to release glucose into the blood for energy.
a hormone formed by beta cells in the pancreas. Amylin regulates the timing of glucose release into the bloodstream after eating by slowing the emptying of the stomach.
a type of neuropathy resulting in pain, weakness, and/or wasting in the muscles.
a condition in which the number of red blood cells is less than normal, resulting in less oxygen being carried to the body’s cells.
any disease of the blood vessels (veins, arteries, capillaries) or lymphatic vessels.
proteins made by the body to protect itself from “foreign” substances such as bacteria or viruses. People get type 1 diabetes when their bodies make antibodies that destroy the body`s own insulin-making beta cells.
an oral medicine that lowers blood pressure; ARB stands for angiotensin (an-gee-oh-TEN-sin) receptor blocker.
hardening of the arteries.
a large blood vessel that carries blood with oxygen from the heart to all parts of the body.
a dietary sweetener with almost no calories and no nutritional value. (Brand names: Equal, NutraSweet.)
clogging, narrowing, and hardening of the body`s large arteries and medium-sized blood vessels. Atherosclerosis can lead to stroke, heart attack, eye problems, and kidney problems.
a type of neuropathy affecting the lungs, heart, stomach, intestines, bladder, or genitals.
a type of damage to the retina of the eye marked by bleeding, fluid accumulation, and abnormal dilation of the blood vessels. Background retinopathy is an early stage of diabetic retinopathy. Also called simple or nonproliferative (non-pro-LIF-er-uh-tiv) retinopathy.
a steady trickle of low levels of longer-acting insulin, such as that used in insulin pumps.
blood glucose, or commonly referred to as blood sugar, is the form of energy circulating in the blood stream. Blood glucose is the end result of digestion, absorption and metabolism of food.
blood glucose meter
a small, portable machine used by people with diabetes to check their blood sugar levels. After pricking the skin with a lancet, one places a drop of blood on a test strip in the machine. The meter (or monitor) soon displays the blood glucose level as a number on the meter`s digital display.
blood glucose monitoring
checking blood glucose level on a regular basis in order to manage diabetes. A blood glucose meter (or blood glucose test strips that change color when touched by a blood sample) is needed for frequent blood glucose monitoring.